Five Reasons Why You Should Complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA)
There are many reasons someone may choose to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This degree can amplify career prospects, aid in the development of a professional network, enhance the unique skills necessary to be successful in business, and so much more.
In this piece, Kyle Eberly, who earned his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, shares some insight on exactly why an MBA is worth it.
1) Critical Business Insight
An MBA is one of the most unique graduate degree programs. Unlike law school, followed by the bar exam for lawyers, or medical school followed by a board certification for doctors, there is no certification for doing business. MBA programs fill that gap by providing the training and knowledge necessary to have a base understanding of what business is. Through an MBA, you learn the fundamentals of business such as finance, marketing, operations, and leadership.
Those who complete an MBA gain critical business insight that is difficult to obtain otherwise. MBA programs teach students the key indicators of business and the language of business. The corporate world has its own cadence and its own language. An MBA helps students to understand the corporate community, interact within it, and become leaders in the field.
Eberly explains how the development of these skills aided him even in his personal financial endeavors. Improving your understanding of how finance works in the corporate world allows you to better evaluate your own personal finance decisions. Individuals who have completed an MBA develop insight on how an asset is valued and why stocks behave the way they do. Having a good barometer of how and when to make financial choices such as buying a house or a car is extremely helpful and an added perk of an MBA.
Top MBA programs have very well established relationships with companies who are looking for the sort of talent that MBA programs produce. The really competitive MBA programs are incredibly selective mechanisms for individuals to get paired with companies and earn positions that are hard to get and compensated well. These programs provide experience, name recognition, and a way to accelerate your career through networking.
MBA programs provide clear paths for different industries such as tech, corporate finance, and consulting. For many of these industries, it is difficult to earn a job without the MBA pipeline. Although it's not impossible to get these jobs on your own, the path is much less linear. Earning an MBA makes the path more straightforward as these business schools are meant to be feeder programs.
Many say that getting a full-time MBA is participating in a two-year networking event which will get you into the right job. It is a very career focused degree, and students can rest assured that they will have enhanced career prospects when they graduate.
3) Career Potential
MBA Programs are required to release employment information for how their graduates are doing. On each of the top program’s websites you can find what companies graduates are being hired at, what industry they are working in, how much graduates are making, and where they are going geographically. By reading these statistics you can get a good feel for the value of your money by attending these schools and ultimately make an informed decision.
Further, during your MBA, you will be taught how to get a job in ways that are repeatable. Schools create a template on how to get hired and ensure that it is muscle memory for their students before each class graduates. MBA students learn how to advocate for themselves, interview adequately, and transfer their skill sets to different industries.
4) Lifetime Earning Potential
MBA programs also improve the lifetime earning potential of graduates. Of course, the most well-ranked MBA programs provide the best career growth and salary growth prospects. The highest-ranked schools really only accept students who have more than two years of work experience. Eberly explains, if a program accepts students directly from their undergraduate, that is a warning sign.
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reported that MBA graduates earn 3 million more over their lifetime than those who only hold a bachelor’s degree. In 2021, the median salary of MBA graduates was $115,000. For those who entered the same companies directly from industry, they earned $95,000. 70% of employers also admitted that within their organizations, those with an MBA tend to earn more.
5) Career Switch
Pursuing an MBA is a particularly smart decision for those who are looking to make a career pivot. If you are in the military but want to become an investment banker, are in corporate finance and want to work in tech, or are a lawyer but want to move into the business industry, getting an MBA can be the perfect way to switch industries.
Since full-time MBA programs are typically two years, students have to leave their job in order to complete their degree. This is an easier choice for those who are ready to leave their current industry and want to transition to another.
For those who are interested in staying in their same industry but moving up the ladder, an MBA in a hybrid or part-time format can also be a great choice. Companies often value the expertise an MBA can bring. However, Eberly recommends talking to your higher ups to hear their opinion on the value it could bring to the company before starting a part-time MBA while employed.
Think of an MBA as an investment, because it is. Each person needs to consider what is the best choice for them and their personal career ambitions.
Eberly shares some admission tips for students desiring to complete an MBA. He explains that admissions are extremely competitive for the top 20 schools. The most important factors on the application are often the GMAT score and the GRE score. GPA is less relevant because most people have been out of school for some time prior to completing their MBA and schools know this.
Search for a school with low acceptance rates that is searching for candidates with 2-5 years of work experience.
As for your own personal experience, Eberly explains you should have at least one to two positions under your belt and 2-5 years of work experience. Certainly you can enter an MBA program later, but it is extremely helpful, and expected, to have some real world work experience prior to starting the degree.
Eberly also explains that the MBA admission cycle typically starts a full year before you matriculate and most schools offer different rounds of applications. It’s important to be prepared. Schools will release interview slots throughout those rounds and if you receive an interview, your chances of admittance increase by leaps and bounds. If you don’t get an interview, you likely won’t be admitted and can adjust accordingly, such as applying to other schools.
If you are a strong candidate, you will also likely receive a scholarship. Most students will take out some loans to pay for their MBA and then pay them back easily with their increased salary.
An MBA is a great choice for those looking to build their business skills and their network, increase their career potential, switch careers, or amplify their potential lifetime earnings.
Full-time programs can be a perfect opportunity for those looking to pivot their career whereas part-time options may be a better choice for those striving to stay in the same industry but move up the ladder.
Each individual should carefully consider the investment of an MBA and how the degree may support their professional goals. However, the consensus is clear, an MBA is certainly a degree which is worth your while.